If a meeting makes you dread it, chances are that you’re not running it the way it could be. When it comes to holding a meeting with your fellow associates, it’s important to never lose sight of your objectives. Depending on your firm and your goals, each meeting will be unique, but here a a few guidelines on how to hear the word meeting and maybe jump for joy.
Every law firm has a list of goals that need accomplishing. It is easy to lose sight of the purpose of your meeting. Keeping your firm’s goal as the main focus will ensure that the meeting steers itself naturally back to the task at hand.
As a firm, it is imperative that you enlist the skills of all associates, where possible. Meetings are a great way to delegate tasks, brainstorm innovative ideas, and have a lively discourse. If you feel certain associates are being overworked, and others get away with minimal effort, you can bring this up in your meetings. A shared workload is an effective resource management skill.
At our firm’s latest meeting, our team leader steered away from the usual format. Usually, we discuss tasks that each team member has to complete, and project ideas and tasks for the coming month or indefinite period. Our team leader decided to break our tasks down to a meeting by meeting timeframe. Although this is a fresh idea, it could have met with criticism if he had not discussed with all of us present. Happily, we all warmed up to the idea. Now, we get to cut meetings times down by 75% and are a lot more productive as a group.
Let’s find out the 4 main principles of any meeting:
- Achieving a meeting’s objective
- Taking up a minimal amount of time
- Engaging all members, as far as possible
- Participants should feel a sensible process was followed
…and a few rules to be observed during the session:
- Your objective should be clear to everyone
- Ensure technology doesn’t distract. Restrict usage of electronic devices as far as possible
- Time really is money, keep your meetings short and on time
- Review the list of people who need to attend, and make sure they know they’re invited
- Follow up meeting to see how far you’re progressing
Objectives Need to be Met
If you meet your associates over coffee, discuss ideas, and then have half of them argue and take center-stage, you’re at a discourse and not a meeting. A meeting seeks to ensure that a central idea is given importance. At a successful meeting, you and your team members brainstorm ideas, delegate tasks, and come to a conclusion as to how best carry out the objective.
For instance, you decide to introduce social media as part of your company’s branding. What is the objective here? You have to ensure you have social media platforms listed, that will work best for your law firm. Further, you will expand your company’s image and presence in the digital world. Now, some of your associates might be dead against it, arguing that digitizing your firm is useless. On the other hand, your Facebook and Instagram-savvy colleagues will be so glad you’ve finally jumped on the bandwagon. Allow time for suggestions, comments, and criticism amongst member of your firm. See what ideas you can do away with, and what you can implement. Restrict discussion time, as this is what eats away into precious meeting time.
Get the Most Out of Meetings
The minutes taker. As far as possible, have someone keep a record of all ideas, and points of importance throughout your meeting.
Have a moderator. Don’t let any one person or group hijack the stage. You might have that one vociferous and opinionated associate who just has to get their two cents in. Allow this, but ensure that everyone gets time to talk, and not just one individual.
Be receptive to ideas. More ideas were changed with disagreement than with complacence. Just because someone doesn’t like an idea, don’t be quick to dismiss what they have to say. Factor in all ideas, and come to a consensus with your team.
FOLLOW UP! Probably highly underrated, but follow-up meetings are just as important as the initial meetings themselves. It’s in follow-up meetings that you can monitor the progress (or lack thereof) of your ideas. Encourage associates to be a part of the process, and remind them that every opinion counts.
About the Author
This article was provided by LegalEase Solutions. LegalEase is a specialized legal research and writing company serving attorneys, law firms and legal departments across the US and beyond since 2004. For more information, please feel free to contact us at 1(877) 712-8003 or email us.
Full disclosure, Legal Ink Magazine is an affiliate partner with LegalEase Solutions.
Vector meeting image courtesy of Freepik.